On a warm island evening,
An old friend comes by in a daydream.
‘When you’re all pipe, slippers and rocking chair,
Can you pretend that you’ve lived?’
And then he took off.
You’ve gone long before it was okay.
Your humble, eccentric ways we have learned to love.
Your quiet strength I will always remember bolstering our quests.
Now, your reminder.
Rest well, friend.
When you’re aged 25, you just don’t expect a friend who you’ve gone to school and rowed boats with to die — it just isn’t supposed to happen. I’ve had acquaintances die before, but nobody who was closer. Samuel Ling and I served the same club back in junior college, we fought the same fights, sometimes against each other, but mostly we fought as brothers-in-arms.
He was eccentric, to say the least. In a place where most people could barely manage to write and speak proper Mandarin, his grasp of the language rendered some of his deeper writings arcane to the common reader. On a boat, he paddled with sometimes berserk ferocity, throwing form to the wind; other times he would let the paddle prance above the water just keeping a straight back and perfecting form. Samuel had strength in his legs, as many doors in school would attest. And damn, could the man sweat!
Watching him compose and play at a piano, I don’t think he is anything if not at least a minor prodigy.
Although we did not contact each other very much after university — he being busy with work, and myself busying in school — whenever we did meet, there would be happy backslapping and laughter.
I hope I could write better about this, and maybe I will at some point, but for now, I’ll just miss you Sam.